Former educator commissions statue for fairgrounds

The Central Wyoming Fair & Rodeo will soon be getting a new statue.
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Central Wyoming Fair & Rodeo will soon be getting a new statue.

The name of the statue that will go on display at the fairgrounds in Casper is called “6 Miles South”. The statue was commissioned by Helen Wolff. She says the idea for the artwork stems from her childhood. “I was in 4-H growing up on the ranch in Lander, six miles south. And if some of the town kids couldn’t have their 4-H animals at home, we kept them out at the ranch. So we all grew up together out at that ranch!”

Wolff says a funny thing happened when her family was digging for water. “But we struck oil. And we kept the oil rights when we sold the ranch, when my father died. We kept the oil rights. I know right where to drill! And you’re going to hit a gusher! No water, but you’re going to hit a lot of oil.”

Wolff commissioned Wyoming artist Chris Navarro to create the statue. “Well, Chris Navarro is a friend of mine. He and his wife Lynne are very nice people, and they’ve done a lot. And so I just though, ‘Well, you know... I’ve got a few bucks left in my account. Maybe I’ll have him do this.’ So I called Tom Jones, and I asked him. And he said, ‘Oh yeah, I’d like to have it at my fairgrounds down here!’”

Though Helen isn’t quite sure when the statue will be done yet, she says there’s one celebrity she would love to have at the unveiling. “And everyone’s saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Kevin Costner could be at the unveiling of the big statue.’ That would be great! He could come in For Dances With Wolves. He’s a famous man. And maybe he could do one of his Yellowstone series right here at the fairgrounds!”

After teaching for 35 years in places such as Dubois, Jackson, and Casper, Wolff has had a lot of students... And relishes in their successes. “All over! They’re everywhere here! Mayors, elected officials, they’re everywhere. And they were all wonderful!” And I think you mentioned a police chief, right? “Oh yes!!! Haha. He’s not a police chief anymore, but he’s down in Douglas. Great guy.”

At 85-years-old, Wolff reflects on her career, and remembers some good advice her father once gave her. “Your riches will not be in money. It will be in the people you meet in your life. And how true that was. And I feel like I’m one of the richest people in the whole world. With all the people, and all my students that I’ve had, in my life.”